Ellis has been away on holiday this week and so I’ve been tasked with writing the weekly newsletter. Such pressure!
I started working with Ellis at the end of September, having had no previous experience and knowledge of the industry, or of trains themselves. As such, poor Ellis has had six weeks of me constantly asking him questions. Early on I managed to learn my “bogies” from my “tenders”, and am now asking things like “so what makes a pannier tank a pannier tank?”, and “why don’t they all just have Portescap Motors in?”. It has to be said that so far he has beenextremely patient.
I’ve gradually been adding to my duties, now photographing and logging the models, listing them on the website, and dealing with some phone-calls. It’s a safe bet that if you’ve had a package from us in the last few weeks then it will have been packaged by me.
What a wonderful industry to work in! When all of the employment opportunities available seemed to have Orwellian job titles and specifications (‘Graduate Business Development Manager’, ‘Product Owner’), I feel lucky that I’ve landed a role where I get to work with something physical, nice objects of skilful manufacture, and most importantly, with people that are down to earth and the complete opposite of ‘corporate’.
There seems to be some anxiety about the industry’s future, about what happens when the current generation of collectors and modellers pass away. This worry is understandable, given that by and large the customers in question are older men. Once they are gone… what then? But there will always be old men. There is always the next generation to replace the one previous. There will always be a market for model trains. It is the job of both the suppliers and the consumers to keep the hobby alive. As a complete outsider it’s been enlightening to witness the passion and dedication that the hobby provides.
In all I think there’s a lot to look forward to, both for those in the model railway business, and also for the enthusiasts themselves. As a father of two young children (one of whom is already obsessed with trains), it is a hobby that I could see myself adopting, something to do as a project, something where you use your hands and actually build something together. Who knows, maybe they could pass it on to their children?
To end I just want to say that so far I am charmed by the industry and community of model railways. I’m looking forward to packaging your orders in the future.